Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Volcano Crisis

The potential eruption of a volcano in a popular tourist area is a crisis that require decisions of great consequence to be made on the basis of rapidly changing information, often under extreme time pressure and frequently under the intense scrutiny of the travelling public and social and news media.

This escalating threat is facing the island of Bali in Indonesia at the present time. Mount Agung has been in the initial stages of eruption since early September. Over 100,000 people have been evacuated. Mount Agung last erupted in 1963, killing 1,000 people. Millions of people travel to this idyllic tourist destination each year.

Bali emergency authorities and the Indonesian Government have worked to reduce the risk of the eruption on residents and tourists through effective emergency and security response. Clearly they have developed policies and procedures necessary to resolve the problems related to an imminent disaster.

I was on the island a few weeks ago and was impressed by the knowledge locals had about plans and preparations for evacuation response. I was highly impressed with the polite and well-prepared updates on dampening down the fear and concern visitors to the island may experience.

This is one of the communications delivered to my hotel room not long after my arrival:

Dear Guests,

Bali is still safe for tourism.

The volcano has not erupted and there is no volcanic ash.

Mount Agung is 72 km. from Seminyak and 32 km. from Ubud. Flights in and out of Bali’s international airport remain normal.

Even if the volcano erupted, it would not affect aviation unless there is volcanic ash.

Nine alternative airports have been prepared for diverted flights. 300 buses will be available to transport travellers to ferry ports.

Bali tourism is safe.  Do not trust misleading news.”

This crisis could arrive at any time:  and it could come at any speed.  It can strike without warning and destroy people and property. It is through planning that an island like Bali can anticipate and reduce the impact of that crisis and hopefully preserve its tourism identity and brand as being a safe place to be or to come back to. Bali is prepared.

“BY FAILING TO PREPARE YOU ARE PREPARING TO FAIL" – Benjamin Franklin.                                                                    

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